My quest for the perfect winter coat. SUCCESS!!

After days spent searching, my quest has finally come to an end.  And though it might sound like an endorsement of polygamy – which it is NOT.  I am here to announce my perfect coat is not actually ONE coat, But Two.

Meet Coat No. 1.  The Spyder Glacier Jacket by Spyder Active Sports.

spyder glacier jacket


1) This jacket is the MOST BAD ASS COAT EVER.  It makes me feel like a million bucks.  Which – given its MSRP of $600 FREAKING DOLLARS, I guess isn’t too far from the truth.  Fortunately I got mine at the super ski-tastic sale going on right now @ T.J. Maxx in South Portland.  And since you get the max for the minimum at T.J. Maxx, you know I did not pay full price.

2) As you can see from the photo below, my arms are indeed long.  Yet this jacket does not leave inches of flesh exposed to the elements.


LISTEN UP, L.L.BEAN!  Tall women w/ long arms are people too.  In this case, people w/ cash.  And though I did pay a good deal more for this Spyder jacket than I would have at your most beloved of Maine institutions, it was worth every penny.  My advice?  Next season, branch out.

3) Speaking of sleeve length.  When I found this coat – in T.J.MAXX of South Portland w/ its super ski-tastic sale going on right now – I nearly swooned.  It was IT.  Hood – check.  Front zipper – check.  Roomy pockets – check & check.  ADEQUATE SLEEVE LENGTH? With room to SPARE.  But there’s more.  The cuffs have adjustable velcro closures to keep out all the cold.


AND – the Best part ever?  There are spandex half gloves – BUILT RIGHT IN!!!!!  So no breeze will ever billow up my sleeve, my sleeve will never come loose from my glove, and every day will be better than the day before.

spidey half glove

4) While I am discussing the superb features of this coat.  I would like to compliment the genius designer who came up w/ this lil beauty.  B/c it ROCKS.  We have something here along the southern coast of Maine.  Both a blessing & a curse, it is called coastal air.  In the summer, the ocean breezes are a DREAM.  But as the weather gets colder, and then colder still, this body numbing blustery wind has a unique effect on the bones.  I liken it to death.  So when I saw that this coat not only had a hood, but a hood w/ all sorts of hidden toggles, to cinch in my heat from that fearful icy wind, I thought to myself.  BLOODY GENIUS.

hood is good

PS: When I discovered two days ago that said hood also features a built-in VISOR.  I nearly cried.

5) We have a running joke in our family about how much spiders love me.  Wherever I go, Poof! there they are.  As a child, I used to find them crawling on me in the night.  Two months ago, a spider literally FELL FROM THE SKY right on top of my head.  So imagine the jokes when I found this perfect coat, made by Spyder.  With a spider logo right there on the chest.  Calling all my minions to rally round and/or jump right onto me.  It was fate.

me & the spyder

But – I hear you asking – if this coat is so darn perfect (which everyone knows it is) then why Coat No. 2??

Like most stories about mothers and daughters and winter coats, this one isn’t simple.  B.c it gets cold here in Portland.  Really cold.  Like, right now – even though it’s only mid-October, it’s 41 degrees.  Sure, that’s warm in Alaska.  But compared to HOTLANTA? nothing doing.  My mommy is checking those weather forecasts every morning in the AJC.  She already knows there’s a 40% chance of snow tomorrow in Portland.  And being too far away to wind a scarf round my head, she wants to make 250% sure that I am warm.  Like all good Mommies, nothing is ever good enough for her baby.  Even when it’s a $600 FREAKING DOLLAR TOP OF THE LINE SKI JACKET MADE FOR PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES CASCADING DOWN MOUNTAINTOPS AT HYPER VELOCITY IN THE DEAD OF WINTER.  It’s just a coat.  A coat which doesn’t cover her baby’s tushy.  THAT’S RIGHT!  Even when baby is 3 decades out of diapers, momma still wants to dress you.  SO/to recap.  Not even the BEST is good enough for me.  My beloved Spyder Glacier Jacket only comes to my waist.  Leaving my derriere and nether regions exposed & vulnerable.  I’ve got a brand new unbelievably pricy Spyder jacket now hanging (next to my forlorn former coat) in the closet, and I was STILL getting suggestions from my mom about long puffy parkas from The North Face.  I felt like a newlywed, whose mother continues forwarding links to eligible bachelors on  Knowing this would not end until we were both satisfied, I soldiered on.  It was essential to find yet another perfect coat.  One which would cover my sensitive butt-ular regions, my chicken thighs, and perhaps – if I was lucky – even my two underinsulated kneecaps.  And so I went.  Back to that blessed Maine institution with the two first initials & the heavenly last name spelling out the very best of good fortune.  NO, NOT L.L.BEAN!!  I am talking about T.J. Maxx of South Portland.  And as fate would have it.  I scored once again.  High five.

Meet Coat No. 2.  Black Rivet brand 3/4 length parka.

black rivet


1) I love the fit of this coat.  After trying on countless iterations of the same theme and being horrified by the marshmallow staring back at me from the mirror, I was genuinely pleased w/ this style.  It is lengthy and provides the warmth I need, without the look of an overstuffed sausage.  It manages to be both lightweight, yet well insulated.  Wearing it, I look more like a sleek female seal than a male walrus, and for this I am grateful.

2) This coat has good features.  For instance, the zipper.  It works.  Don’t laugh.  If you had tried on as many coats w/ crap zippers as I have, you would know it’s no joke.  Easy on & off, zero hassle.  Check.  A built-in hood, both roomy & warm – NO FUR TRIM – and without so much hang it renders me blind.  Check.  Only downside: I truly wish it had cinching toggles each side, but not every hood is perfect.  I will wear this one w/ a hat.

roomy hood

Fortunately, this coat makes up for it in a very high neck.  I like these types of collars.  They are practical, providing excellent wind protection, plus they are attractive.  The two zippered pockets are lined and roomy enough for my (very large) hands.  Check & check.

3) The sleeves are long enough. HINT HINT L.L.BEAN.

sleeve length - check

sleeve length - check twice

4) Despite all the pluses. I am not big on the shiny factor of this coat. Although some may think it pretty and satin sheen seems quite the rage this season, this would not have been my first choice.  Nor my second, nor frankly my 15th.  The last time I owned a satin coat I was in late elementary school.  Something about the shininess makes me feel like a little kid wearing brand new patent leather shoes, terrified of getting them scuffed.  It also reminds me of Morticia Adams and/or the inside liner of a coffin.  But I liked everything else so much, I am pretending i like the satin sheen too.  Yes i am one of the satin ladies.  Bling-bling.  That’s no supernova – it’s just me in my new coat.  Yay.

5) This coat, unlike my beloved Spyder, cost less than a casino outing.  And at $49.99 a little sheen never hurt.

My quest for the perfect winter coat.

I am not your average woman.  I have suspected as much for years, but last night confirmed it.  After dinner, we drove 20 minutes north to the mecca of Freeport.  Home of that most beloved of all Maine institutions.  L.L.Bean. You might not know this, but as a new Maine-uh, it is mandatory that you buy stuff from L.L.Bean.  It doesn’t matter that you even like what you’re buying, but you MUST BUY STUFF THERE.  It’s the only way to prove your loyalty.  And believe me – the label checkers don’t ask questions.

We weren’t going for just anything though.  Last night, we had a MISSION.  My birthday is coming up in a week, and my mommy has been requesting – nay, INSISTING that I find myself a nice new winter coat.  Now that we have moved to the tundra (at least in comparison to balmy HOTlanta where she resides) she wants to make sure I am warm & toasty all winter long.  Since she cannot tuck me in in person, she wants to do the next best thing.  What every mother longs to do for their child.  Buy them a coat from L.L.Bean.

BUT MOMMY! I have said, I HAVE a coat.  A coat that I LOVE.  Nine years ago, we found each other in the gilded racks of Bloomingdales.  I knew he cost a little more than I was willing to pay. but as my Mommy was buying, it was o-kay.  I took him off his hanger and whisked him away – to more love than a coat has ever known.  We have held each other through winter storm and ice, cold pelting rain and wind, and though he has a few batttle scars, a slight rip at the seam and two lost toggles, he is still as beautiful as the day we first met.  Unfortunately, my mother sees him differently.  She never liked him.  Well, maybe a little at first, but now if she “sees me in that ratty black thing ONE MORE TIME, soaked to the bone and looking like a (quote-unquote) DROWNED RAT she will scream.”  My poor coat.  I hear him crying in the closet when the light is out.  He knows it’s just a matter of time.

Last night we drove to L.L.Bean.  We parked our car in that maze of spaces and we hauled it upstairs, past the fish pond and the maple syrup display, to ladies outerwear.  I eyeballed the selection of nice new winter coats.  Lovely indeed.  Long ones, short ones, every color in between.  But from the first I tried on, I knew none of them would do.  B/c I am simply something L.L.Bean has never banked on.  I am more than Regular, and far more than Petite.  I am not your average woman.  As much as I tried cramming my long stick-like arms into the sleeves of these coats, each and every one of them was waaaaaaay too short.  It was like being transported to Hobbit town.  Each coat left inches of flesh exposed, from my wrist to – in some cases, my mid-arm.  After consulting with not one but two kindly salesclerks who reassured me I am NOT A FREAK.. I determined something L.L.Bean has not.  Tall women who come to buy winter coats do not want to be re-directed down to the men’s department.

So we returned home, where I spent 3 hours online last night perusing umpteen websites in quest of the perfect coat.  Believe me when I say I lavished extra attention on sleeve length.  By bedtime I was zonked.  There are only so many jackets one can look at before getting burned out.  At least when you are me.  I was astounded at how popular puffy parkas have become.  This year blinding satin sheen in combination w/ Michelin-man-style Puffiness seems especially IN.  Partner that w/ Big BLING like gold chains and tassles, and that about sums up my search.  I am looking for a normal coat, something that doesn’t scream I AM A MAFIOSO WIFE.  You can imagine how this has left me.  Frankly, I’m starting to think I will be buried in my beloved old coat.  Thank goodness.